Sunday, February 11, 2007

I've Discovered the Gene For Ignoring my Genes! (2.21.09)

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm in the midst of reading a relatively new and state-of-the-art book on human origins entitled Before the Dawn. I was going to wait until I was finished with it, but I've highlighted so many passages that I probably wouldn't be able to fit it all into one post. Plus it's what I happen to be thinking about at the moment, so now you're stuck with it.

The book is full of all kinds of new factual information, which is always good. However, it is written from the perspective of a primitive New York Timesman, so that all of the facts are implausibly shoehorned into a bland and predictable materialistic paradigm. Therefore, there's a bit of inherent frustration in reading the book, because the writer is an unquestioned devotee of the Darwinian faith, so no matter what anomalies he discovers or mysteries he unearths, the simplistic a priori explanation is always the same: it's all genetics.

As always, mighty "randomness" is the all-powerful "God of the saps" for the metaphysically blind. It explains everything, therefore, dipso fogso, nothing. It is a perfect example of what I wrote the other day about the "demystification of the world."

But that's okay. Facts are facts, no matter how the simple devotees of scientistic magic may try to spin them.

It reminds me of what a friend of mine once said in the midst of enjoying a certain spirited musical performance in the American negro tradition: "If you're not dancing, you're wrong!" This is how I feel about the cosmos: if you're not in awe, you're just wrong. And if you intentionally try to eliminate the awe, well, you're like one of those tight-a** Puritans putting up a sign that says "No Dancing," just because you've long since forgotten how.

Now, even in reading just the first few pages of this book, I can well understand how a traditionally religious person might regard the entire Darwinian enterprise (in its needlessly reductionistic bonehead form) as intrinsically satanic, and just toss the book aside. But this is something that Coons should never do, for our perspective is both wider and deeper -- not to say, higher - than that of mere science. Fitting science into a religious metaphysic should pose no difficulty whatsoever, or it's not much of a religion, is it? If science can't fit comfortably into a little mansion or even double-wide trailer home of God, what kind of God is that?

Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998), arguably the greatest religious metaphysician who ever lived, had no use for evolution and rejected it outright. On the other hand, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) had no problem at all with it, perhaps even going too far in the opposite direction. In his case, he had a very different personal history than Schuon, which no doubt accounts for their divergent outlooks. In the case of Schuon, he was a deeply alienated European who could not find spiritual sustenance in the decadent environment of 1920's Europe, and therefore looked to the East (including Eastern Christianity, Vedanta and Sufism).

In the case of Aurobindo, he was from exactly the sort of traditional culture that Schuon idealized (India), but received a marvelous education in the West, at Cambridge. This put Aurobindo in the rather unique position (at that time, anyway) of seeing how the decadence of India actually obscured the perennial message at the heart of the Vedanta. He knew that India needed to move forward, not backward, in order to actualize its spiritual destiny. You might say that he saw how India needed to become more Westernized -- i.e., more focused on the material world -- while the West needed to become more "interior" to balance its relentless exteriorizing dynamic.

This is exactly how I see it. I believe our conquest of the the external frontier must be followed by an exploration and colonization of the interior horizon. It is truly the "final frontier": vertical globalization.

And as a matter of fact, this is exactly what has been going on in the West -- albeit in fits and starts and with a lot of wrong turns -- since the time of the closing of the American western frontier in the late 19th century. Just at that point, there was an "interior turn" throughout the West. We see this in art, literature, music, psychoanalysis, and the sudden interest in mysticism, theosophy and the occult. Afterwards, the evolution of this inward turn was disrupted by cataclysmic world-historical events, including World War I, the Great Depression, and then World War II.

Thus, it is no coincidence that we began to see this interiorizing impulse reappear as if from nowhere in the late 50's and 60's, but people such as Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley were just a continuation of what had really gotten underway with the American transcendentalists such as Emerson. Obviously, Emerson can still be read with great profit today, as many of his observations were quite prophetic and remain entirely fresh and contemporary, to say the least. Indeed, viewed from a cosmic-historical standpoint, Emerson is hardly "in the past." He is just yesterday. Or perhaps just up ahead.

The whole new age movement, which emerged out of 1960's style pagan spirituality, represents a false and intrinsically wrong turn in our evolution. It takes certain truths and distorts them, dabbling in things that are not necessarily harmful "from above" but "from below." (I realize that my analysis is somewhat polemical and bobastic, and ignores many exceptions, counter-trends, and ironically positive unintended consequences, so the Bi-Cosmic Deputy may no doubt fine-tune my point in a less ham-handed way.)

In other words, most of the new age blathering that goes by the name "integralism" is nothing more than a co-opting of half-understood spiritual ideas for the purposes of narcissistic inflation (i.e., the lower seizing the higher instead of being transformed by it). These various approaches are spiritually vacuous to Coons because they are generally detached from any timeless revelation and any true source of grace, without which one can only turn around in circles and exalt the self in compensation. "Followers" are required in order to create a space in which infantile omnipotence is projected onto the master, which then creates a blowback of pseudo-grace. This is the trick of the new age careerists. A normal person would be nauseated by such adulation.

My fellow Coons, do you think for one second that Dear Leader couldn't do this if he were possessed of a black heart? Naturally I could not do it with you, because you would see through me and flee in the opposite direction with vomit bags billowing in the wind. But hoo boy, I know full well that I am equipped with the minimum amount of charisma -- if not the requisite sociopathy and narcissism -- to open my little window in the New Age Traveling Salivation Show and promise things I cannot deliver -- to fleece all the Nobodies who want a relationship with an idealized Somebody in order to not feel like the former. But the Somebody also needs to surround himself with Nobodies in order to not feel like the latter. As you may have noticed, only Somebodies are allowed to be Coons. Very substantial Somebodies, not fragile Nobodies. Needless to say, I have no desire to surround myself with Nobodies. I know for a fact that many people come here for the spiritual Somebody-ish comments of readers, not just my post.

Now, how the hell did we get here? I was talking about the book on human origins. I'll be right back. I need to reread what I just wrote......

I give up. Anyway, the book does broadly confirm a number of important points discussed in chapter 3 of One Cosmos, Psychogenesis. Instead of looking just at the archeological evidence, Before the Dawn discusses all of the new research made possible by the Human Genome Project. The data can be studied in all kinds of clever and innovative ways in order to deduce various conclusions about our origins.

The book confirms the fact that there is a vast difference between "anatomically modern" and "behaviorally modern" human beings, the former of which appear as early as 200,000 years ago. And yet, truly human behavior does not emerge until as recently as 45,000 years ago. And it emerged quite suddenly, in such a way that it defies any traditional Darwinan explanation. In fact, many traditional paleo-anthropologists reject the sudden emergence of our humanness, but only because their religion (strict Darwinism) makes it impossible. Therefore, they argue that the transition must have been gradual, even though this is not what the archaeological evidence shows. What do you call someone who maintains a belief system despite contrary evidence?

Anyway, genetics comes to the rescue, because the author of Before the Dawn says that Darwinian evolution must be able to occur much more rapidly than any of us had previously realized. Therefore, whether the transition from ape to human was slow or sudden, it's all good. Darwinism explains it.

What do you call a philosophy that is so elastic that it accounts for opposite scenarios? "I was for the gradual descent of man before I was against it."

You will never hear it come out of my mouth that genes are unimportant things. However, the author makes the point that our DNA is 99% identical to that of a chimpanzee. Oddly, he uses this statistic to emphasize the importance of genes, when to me it would appear to highlight the opposite. I say this because a moment's reflection will reveal to you that the ontological gulf between a human being and any animal is actually infinite.

Put it this way: how would you characterize the distance between an animal, whose every behavior is genetically determined, and a being who has transcended his genetic program to such an extent that he is able to pick and choose those aspects of it that he would prefer to ignore? Again, being that he is a primitive New York Timesman, the author doesn't give a moment's serious thought to religion, but dismisses it with a passing observation buried in a sentence to the effect that it was selected (of course) by our genes "as a means of social cohesion." If so, one can only wonder how he and all of his fellow Homo crapians among the secular left managed to escape this gene's influence?

Again, he seems to be arguing that genes are all-important, but not so important that you can't simply ignore them if you wish. In fact, you can even have contempt for your own genetic religious proclivities (projected into others, of course), which is a rather odd thing. Ever heard of a chimp who had contempt for his banana?

Well I have a busy day ahead of me, so I'd better stop this preluminary discussion for now. It looks like Mrs. G. is giving birth to her first kidney stone today, so my assistance will be required to entertain the savage beast, which I am genetically programmed to do any way. I'll address the book in more detail in a subsequent post.

38 Comments:

Blogger Smoov said...

I haven't even read the post yet (savoring the anticipation). I just have to say that I've always been particulaly fascinated by pre-history. Most of what I know is out of date or from questionable sources. This new direction from Bob is a welcome treat, and I will definitely be reading the book as well.

2/11/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous gigantopithecus said...

This post manages to pack more insight into a handful of paragraphs than I might see in an entire year of sifting through other sources. Well done, sir.

The digression into the psycho-spiritual history of the 19th and twentieth centuries, and in particular the discussion of New Age egoism and faux-spiritualism, was excellent. I would like to hear more in this vein.

2/11/2007 09:13:00 AM  
Anonymous the drive-by poet said...

Love

LOVE on his errand bound to go
Can swim the flood and wade through snow,
Where way is none, 't will creep and wind
And eat through Alps its home to find.

--R.W. Emerson

2/11/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger ximeze said...

smoov:
What flowers will you grow?

Are you familiar with "Western Garden Book by Kathleen Norris Brenzel"?
Published by Sunset Mag outfit.
Full of very useful info about gardening in CA, with areas designated by Zone.
All plants are coded that way too & lots of stuff about dealing with microclimates

2/11/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Rats! My browser is misbehaving.

Anyway smoov, it's a must-have reference for growing stuff out here.

If you have not yet settled on an area in CA, growing season, pests & plant suitability vary a great deal throughout the state. UC Davis is also a great source for ag & horti info.

You would not want to find yourself fixed someplace, only to realize later the locale has built-in anti-slack, in the plant department.

2/11/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

ximeze:

I don't know yet. That chapter of my life is still sitting in the original packaging high up on a shelf. I'm eager to open it and examine all the revelatory bits and pieces therein, but I've got a big job to do right now: scale a company.

The ability to scale is what separates the men from the boys in the corporate start-up world. It's all about laying the foundation, building up the management team (cohesion is available in a brief window, and must be timed exquisitely to market awareness) and executing on capital-backed plans.

It is all quite heady stuff, and fun to do for me. I'll be more than ready to put that all away in favor of flowers--and perhaps a few dogs and horses--by the sea.

2/11/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

Bob,

I was glad to see you picking up on my off the topic question on Friday. As a young coonabe its interesting to see how old geezers spend their time. Your life sounds good enough to inspire all of us future leaders. Thank you for sharing.

2/11/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

crimson cherry pi
dna in secret code
come fire walk with me

2/11/2007 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

smoov:

Wise of you to stay focused. Like having packets of seeds of glorious new varieties & needing to wait for the right time, before planting.

Have you considered an indy winery thing? Hear it's lots of work, pretty risky & FUN! Plenty of Silicon Valley types are doing it. Seems they really enjoy their "new career" & I have to say, they do EAT well. Very important for lifelong Foodies (like me.)

Flowers, dogs, horses & grapes, by the sea, no less. Heavenly.

2/11/2007 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>The whole new age movement, which emerged out of 1960's style pagan spirituality, represents a false and intrinsically wrong turn in our evolution. It takes certain truths and distorts them . . . <<

As far as the new age mvt being an evolutionary wrong turn - I guess that's true in large measure, but maybe it's literally the best that could be hoped for at this time. The motherlode, the 60's, was a time when some great force swept over the world. It was a force that felt like *liberation*. I think it could be thought of as a window of spiritual opportunity opening, a "quickening".

At its best, it would have a great spiritual liberation. However, not too many souls were able to fully integrate the force on a spiritual level. The force exploded outward into radical politics, meaningless destruction of worthy traditions, self-destructive life-styles, etc. Even some of the spiritual elite, eg., pope john 23rd, were seduced into "liberalizing". ie., de-sacralizing sound religious doctrine.

Again, I think of the 60's as being something of a spiritual quickening - and it continues to this day. A spiritual quickening forcibly sets one out on the path to defeat or be defeated by the forces of materialism; there's no coasting, no middle ground. It's a "test", swim or sink. Considering that, as William James once said, there's some truth to every religion, a large part of the current test may be - can one resist the siren song of today's faux-spiritualities, can one find the genuine spirituality that's often buried in the hucksterism? I think one would have to be fairly spiritually aware to do so, but maybe that's why the new age mvt now exists in its present forms - ie., as part of a spiritual quickening, as a "test". In this sense, I think the new age mvt. can be said to serve a spiritually evolutionary purpose.

2/11/2007 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

smoov,

The wine idea isn't bad. Many a good monk has devoted himself to the grape and the nectar of the gods. The daily tending and care, the surprisingly sad crushing, the patient waiting for dissolution and chemical catharsis, the happy moment of tasting. It does seem an elevated calling.

If not as a monk, then as a poet.

2/11/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

If it weren't for the "open windows" of the late 70's in the Catholic Church, I wouldn't be here today. I remember well the newly-minted exhortation in English (!)over the church exit: "I will take the heart of stone from them and will give them a heart of flesh."

And the other door, "From the rising of the sun, to the going down, My Name is to be praised."

It was my first awakening to spiritual things as a young girl. It grabbed me before I could discard Latin as a dead language. I'm grateful, indeed.

2/11/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Pardon me for the slightly off the current topic post but here is a well done argument against atheism ... on their terms.

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/007280.html

Also, Will, I support what you write about the newage movement. I would not be reading this today if it weren't for a lot of that stream of energy. Solve comes before coagula in the alchemical transformation.

2/11/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

My Dad always threatened to run away & become a monk, a Trappist(sp?) if I remember rightly.

Criteria: monks must make booze, jam & take a vow of SILENCE.

That's what you get when you have 4 children in less than 5 yrs, a parrot & numerous cats and dogs living with you.

2/11/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

It looks like Mrs. G. is giving birth to her first kidney stone today...

Y'know, that's an awfully painful statement to leave just laying around on a blog. Don't know how I missed it the first time, but, gee whiizzikers!

Old swedish/mexican remedy: a glass full of lime juice followed by a cup of olive oil. Just, ewww!

2/11/2007 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, how the hell did we get here? I was talking about the book on human origins. I'll be right back. I need to reread what I just wrote...... I give up. Anyway, the book does ..."

LOL! I eagerly await the determimystic explanation for even just the possible existence of that sentence by itself, let alone the actions behind it!

"...it was selected (of course) by our genes "as a means of social cohesion." If so, one can only wonder how he and all of his fellow Homo crapians among the secular left managed to escape this gene's influence?"

Holy Homo Crapians, Batman! How the heck does that gene switch flip?! As Gene OughtTry might sing, Free Will's ..." Back in the Saddle Again".

2/11/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, how the hell did we get here? I was talking about the book on human origins. I'll be right back. I need to reread what I just wrote...... I give up. Anyway, the book does ..."

LOL! I eagerly await the determimystic explanation for even just the possible existence of that sentence by itself, let alone the actions behind it!

"...it was selected (of course) by our genes "as a means of social cohesion." If so, one can only wonder how he and all of his fellow Homo crapians among the secular left managed to escape this gene's influence?"

Holy Homo Crapians, Batman! How the heck does that gene switch flip?! As Gene OughtTry might sing, Free Will's ..." Back in the Saddle Again".

2/11/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze,
I just noticed this available on C-Span's BookTV online Thomas Jefferson: Author of America Christopher Hitchens , I'm hoping to get to watch this later tonight... what with all my slack time and all....
Here's a key difference between Man & Wife:

Husband - Sudden unexpected Slack time = "ahh-ohmmm-hmmm"

Wife - Husband has sudden unexpected Slack time = "Honey, do this...Honey, do that...Honey, did you do..."

Sheesh, what them genes can do....

2/11/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Oh, please headhunter place me soon so I can get back to work, relax and recover from all of this slack!

2/11/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

ximeze, joan of argghh!

Funny you should mention winerys. I stay at the Churon winery whenever I'm in Temecula. I love the place, but winerys are a lot of work.

If I had any talents aside from business I might take up painting or poetry. We'll see.

Right now I am fine, and happy to be here. I am finding it inceasingly difficult to take the outside world (i.e., news and affairs via the MSM) in anything but small doses. It is a bit depressing that humanity is so universally stupid in so many ways. But I'm an eternal optimist and that is one reason I like it here so much. That and the free 'Coon mug.

2/11/2007 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

I thought of writing to "check in" with L.Bob and the Coonskins, but the silliness made me wretch. Bob, your commune-ity continually forces me to ponder the difference between comprehension and understanding.

Joan, if you were a girl in the late 70's, that makes us contemporaries. (Jeez, where did I go wrong?)

I bought most of Bob's library, but the going is so slow (having to ponder, sentence -by- sentence, does that, at least for me).

Anyway, what a fabulous group. Pity the fabulists have no clue what they're missing...

2/11/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

Such diverse groups as Hell's Angels, among others, know and understand the 1% effect. I'm shocked beyond belief that a person of such sophistication misconfigures that particular part of the equation. Oh my!

Joan and the other winos, uh, ah, um, I mean aficionados of the grape. Father Perignon, tasting his fermented first pressing, exclaimed, "I can see the stars!" and he was blind.

Kidney stone! Ouch! Do hope the wailing and gnashing of teeth did not interrupt Future Leaders nap schedule. More cranberry juice? Less water. Beer helps too.
;~O oweeeeeee!

2/11/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

ximeze,
The Trappist' order originated in France BUT those modern day Belgique Trappists brew some beer that is the best and most potent in the world. Talk about beer shock - when I ordered, then took a few good pulls on their highest octane "beer", Jack Daniels came to mind. ;~)

2/11/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

Whew, really stutter stepping today.

van,
Thanks for the link yesterday, appreciate it.

psginfinity,
Yes, this painting evoked a visceral response. It is gigantic, by itself, in a small "room", benches around the other three walls. No matter where you sit - the eyes follow. Later the Arteest(my wife) and I were in a "bar" about a block away, enjoying mixte and a few beers. That's when I read about the painting, "Honey, I wanna cover one wall in the living room with a print ............."

2/11/2007 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous PrincessSpirit said...

Hey All: Just checking in. Thanks for your prayers & Well wishes. Am finally feeling almost back to snuff while recovering from bronchi-bs. 2-rounds has given me lots of antibodies, so hopefully I won't be having the SuperBug visit my abode anytime soon again. Was so annoying, like being cooped up w/a yammering ninny-Troll on rewind 24hrs-a-day. Thanks Heaps for DL & Coons keeping me refocused & entertained during my "crouptivity."

Will: I said "17" for The Game. Scored major buxx from it, too! Princesses Rule! :D

G-BOB: Thanks for the primo reading material from ur past couple posts. Have to read most again now I'm not crouping copiously. Great comfort to save n read ur posts while I was laid up.

There is a decidedly untasty but effective recipe & cure I have for eliminating gallstones & kidney stones, much along the lines JoA mentions. It involves drinking olive oil...a friend of mine in Maine used it successfully just a few months ago & he swears by it after experiencing 3 debilitating kidney stone bouts (watch her calcium instake, of course.) Will find it & post or email it for you & Mrs. G. My prayers are with you all.

Oh: On the frakkin ad nauseam "cult" accusations - Geez, Grow up you Moe-rons! Getta brain, you Orcs! (G-Bob, Aren't you SOOO sick of them & their CONSTANT stoopidity & lame-ASS-umptions?) Ugh! Such *@#*heads! Those who jump to illogical ASSumptions shouldn't cast stoopidstones at others while their own asses are showing! Tedious & predictable of pseudoillects & Braindead orcs. Blahh freakin blahh. Can only surmise they do this becuz they have ZERO connection to the Holy Spirit-Vertical so they remain perpetually stoopid, blind, dumb & moronic, unable to logic their way even thru the simplest maze WITH a map AND a Tour Guide! Equally irritating when unhealthy people do the same thing we call projecting onto others!

TROLLS: "NO Spiritual Puking on The Writer!" Again: Attack the written words & concepts, NOT the person penning them, you frakkin assholes! Even autistics can follow directions, so you have no excuses.

Have precious little Princess-patience left for Toxic Trolls after Bronchi-boxing for 7 weeks straight! Rather just Sword smak-em upside their toaster-beaners IF I thot it'd addle their comatose brains & knock SOME spiritual or even logical sense into them. But I pity them having Zero connection to Spirit-Truth & just stuck being automatons, mouths spewing their ILL-spiritual nonsense at targeted people like G-BOB. Pathetic.

They say on BSG: "Toasters: No sense. No sense of humor, either." I say: "Throw all Toasters in the Deep End of the Pool for a Shocking Experience. They'll either sink, or wake up & die right." Hmm, Where's that UberTaser I got for Christmas? :D

- PrincessSpirit -

2/11/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

"Honey, I wanna cover one wall in the living room with a print ..."

I earnestly hope that the thought of those eyes following you around the room was enough to dissuade you...

2/11/2007 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Isn't Christianity (or supposed to be) the religion of every nobody is a somebody?

I agree about ancient Christianity. It seems by the third century just as the intellectual was flourishing, the practice of real Christianity went to sleep. While those who studied on their own & were fierce in their individuality (how few...) found the depths of Christ Jesus awaiting deeper and higher, most people were sucked into a form of paganistic Christianity.

It is also possible that such a thing was necessary to absorb/dissolve all of those old pagan cults. Not sure on that. I won't say 2000 years were wasted; perhaps its just the vintage on the thing.

Here is an example of reinvigorating the practice of Christianity. Communion, which among other things is a remembrance of Christ (the vertical) is also horizontal. Christ says, "Anyone who eats or drinks of this unworthily..."

Cup of wrath and all. There is a part of the ecclesia that when having Communion, an event which happens for them only once a year, they take many loaves (and the wine as well), everyone breaks them and hands bits (feeds) their brothers and sisters (young and old.) If they are not right with that one, they go and reconcile with each other before continuing. Sometimes it takes hours. (If it takes too long they adjourn.)

It is an open place, too. For true Christianity sees all sojourners as Christ himself. Another way each saying bears the cross of Christ being both horizontal and vertical.

Sadly, many churches have a very shallow vertical idea of many of these things, because they have perverted the horizontal part of it. No building can be tall without a sound foundation. Such is faith that is built upon the solid Rock.

I say 'ecclesia' because I want to refer to the church and not 'a church' so I mean I consider them brothers and sisters in Christ, though they are a separate gathering.

Bob, in some senses, I pray that this gathering is in whatever limited fashion, like a branch of the ecclesia to you. (That is, literally, 'The called out ones.') We may not have all the things that a physical meeting would, but I can safely say whatever I can do for any of these here (though limited by the internet) I would do it.

Perhaps you may rest a 'lil easier knowing some folk pray for you now and again. And not a condescending one either-- for we are sibs here; this knight is a son of the King.

2/11/2007 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Glasr - That's "wineaux", thank you very much.

2/11/2007 10:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael A. said...

My personal mind parasite is making another attack on me. It's the species known as What If You're Wrong. No matter what your beliefs are - theist, deist, pantheist, atheist, antitheist or whatever - somewhere within your mind is always the terrified suspicion that deep down you're wrong, that the universe isn't the way you think it is at all, and that you might have to suffer for making a mistake.

I'm afraid that there's no God. A friend of mine is afraid that there is a God.

2/11/2007 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"... a friend of mine once said in the midst of enjoying a certain spirited musical performance in the American negro tradition: "If you're not dancing, you're wrong!" This is how I feel about the cosmos: if you're not in awe, you're just wrong."

Dance with the One who brung ya!
As the song goes.

2/12/2007 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

michael a: All of our problems are nine feet tall, and God is always doing stuff that we think is impossible. Even if it is not overcoming a physical problem but a mental one.

Reading right now the story of how a particular ministry (by the name of Friend Ships) got their start. Crazy stuff. It really shows to me, what the Master meant when he said, "like a Child" ... and even this guy has doubts. But, how couldn't you when mystery itself is beyond the grasp of mere reason?

Interestingly, when building the ministry (trying to help others) God ends up building them a lot before he'll even let them do what they originally set out to do. Which I guess is where/why the openness is key.

The book is called 'Jesus & Company'

... & Good morning everyone!

2/12/2007 04:41:00 AM  
Anonymous sawdust said...

I'll agree with gigantopithecus, and raise a nickel; Bob has really been on a roll the past few days. He has said more of value the past three or four days than most of us can speak in a lifetime.I guess that's one of the things we're supposed to be doing, my admiration for a man who does it so well.

After reading the post about cave art, I spent several days trying to put my head inside of the head of the artists. All sorts of interesting possibilities there, if you ever find yourself with nothing to puzzle over, and how does one do that?

2/12/2007 05:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

It's the species known as What If You're Wrong.

I disagree, dear Michael.

It's a control issue. It wants YOU to be the Absolute Truth, the final arbiter of knowing, and dresses itself up as an innocent, logical doubt.

Because, if you've tasted and seen that the Eternal is indeed GOOD, then you already know the answer to your doubt.

If you've not yet let go of the need to control the knowing, then I'm afraid you'll go mad with the effort of attempting to contain the Absolute within your brain-pan.

Not talkin' about Vodka, either.
:)

2/12/2007 05:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

It's nice to know that somebody else is awake. It's lonely here on the East Coast, always three hours ahead or 20 hours behind the comments.

2/12/2007 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

joan: Yep. Also, I agree w/ the comment regarding this fear... we want to know God, but he is essentially unknowable to us -- or rather, entirely, since he is infinite. But then again, if you think about how many molecules are in a paperclip, who really knows even a paperclip?

In my local church, I find that many people there cannot really open themselves to God because they try to limit him. In some senses, they know they can't contain all of him, and are afraid of being overwhelmed, perhaps, by him. Probably different w/ different cases.

Mind open, but not so as to have your brains fall out..
Will open, but not so as to be controlled by the enemy..
Heart open, but not so as to be bought cheaply.

I find many church-goers are afraid to open their minds or wills for fear of ... something. Probably varies.

2/12/2007 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joan of Argghh! said "...It's a control issue. It wants YOU to be the Absolute Truth, the final arbiter of knowing, and dresses itself up as an innocent, logical doubt...."

I think Joan's probably got it pegged there, Michael A.

Keep in mind, doubt is one of the things our mind does - on purpose. Without continually questioning all we see & think we know, we'd never learn more, but it does require you be in control of it. Doubt is like a stupid hound dog, it'll bark up every tree it sees, it's up to you not to reward it with your attention for barking up the wrong tree. If there's no new relevant piece of information, or implication - something that you haven't already considered before, then you've got to stop it from arbitrarily barking for the excitement of barking.

Unfortunately you can't physically swat it, so you've got to just dismiss it and turn to other thoughts. Don't reward it with your attention, and the frantic barking will settle down to an occasional tired growl.

2/12/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Joan, think of yourself as being the embodiment of the real Manifest Destiny, as it was in the 1800's, but of course timeless in its ever-coursing east-to-west sweep. The yankee transcendentalists live in you, Emerson, Whitman, Dickenson . . . slowly you sweep westward, bringing with you the great American ideas to flutter down like fireworks on small Midwest towns . . . westward you fly on, over the western deserts where you undergo the dark night of the soul in the empty canyons and rocky cliffs . . . and then . . . reborn in California!! Yankee transcendentalism made anew!! Cinema! The Golden Gate! Disneyland!!

Then the next day, you do it all over again.

2/12/2007 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Help me out, Will. I've been buried in spreadsheets all day, so the right brain isn't working.

Sorry to be obtuse...but, what are trying to tell me?

:)

2/12/2007 11:10:00 AM  

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